Today I ran six miles. While running I was thinking about how when I started running I couldn’t dream of running a mile without stopping, let alone six. Last January my goal was to be able to run one minute without stopping, and today I ran 68 minutes with only one 30-second walking recovery. What amazed me even more was that up until January 1st, I had only ever let myself run a 5K. I have gone from three to six miles in one month, and it’s not because I couldn’t do it any sooner: it’s because I told myself I couldn’t do it.
I learned something today: the true exercise that happens when running isn’t for your body. The body is an amazing and resilient machine. It will rapidly adapt to do what you demand of it. Sure, you’re sweating and your heart is pumping, but the true exercise of running is 100% mental. The reason I ran six miles today was not because my body let me, but because my mind let me. I could have run that distance months ago if I only let myself, but I told myself I couldn’t run any farther than that. My mental endurance wasn’t strong enough to carry me through an hour of running. In one of my earlier entries I shared a mantra I came up with early on in my running, but today it developed a deeper meaning, one that I didn’t realize when I made it up in those first months on the treadmill.
I love running because it reminds me I can do anything I set my mind to.
And that’s the key – whatever you set your mind to. It’s 100% true. Whatever you tell yourself you can do, you will do it. If you say you can run a marathon, you can. If you say you can run a mile and nothing else, that’s what you’ll do. I dare you to push yourself. Think of something you think you can’t do. Maybe you really think you can’t, or maybe you’re scared of finding out that you can’t. Now tell yourself that you can do it. Tell yourself until you truly believe you can, and then try it. I think you’ll be surprised. But let met also give you this disclaimer. This behaviour is addictive. This way of thinking is habit-forming. Once you start, you’ll find yourself thinking greater things and becoming more than you ever imagined. You’ll absolutely be amazed at the dreams you can live. So, go ahead, become more than you ever thought you could be…